Jennifer Brozek | July 2013

Cascade Writer’s Workshop & JayWake

by Jennifer Brozek 30. July 2013 13:44

First up, I was interviewed on Alethea Kontis’ website for her MoAA Interviews series. It was a fun little interview.

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The Cascade Writers Workshop was a really good small writers conference. About 100 people in total—I believe. Admittedly, I was a second stringer with all my lectures competing with  the likes of Cameron McClure and Nisi Shawl. Still, I really enjoyed the lectures and panels I did. This conference was a relax-a-con for me over all. It was, basically, a writers workshop for introverts, by introverts. Low impact and everyone understanding when someone ran back to their room to “work.”

The highlight of the conference for me, as always, is the people I meet—both new and familiar. On the new side of things, I got to meet Tor Books Senior Editor Claire Eddy, Donald Maass Agent Cameron McClure, and Evil Girlfriend Media President Katie Cord. All three women are delightful and great to talk to.  I think I have found an evil twin in Katie. There are already plans in motion. Keep your ears open about a forthcoming project or two between me and Evil Girlfriend Media.

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The other hat I wore was my small press publisher hat as JayWake was hosted in the same hotel Saturday night. Jay Lake and Apocalypse Ink Productions decided that JayWake would be the perfect place for a book release party and a JayWake limited edition of his Process of Writing book. We had 50 hardback copies and they all sold out. We have 1 held back for a official release date contest along with a JayWake pin and a smooshed penny.

I must admit, it was a hard, weird, good evening for me. I was so happy to see Jay so tickled pink. I was happy so many people loved the book. But, at the same time, the reason for the party was hard. Really hard. I’ll admit to hiding behind my wall of table and books and just listening to the laughter of the roast… and not much more.

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Tell Me – Kimmi Allbee

by Jennifer Brozek 24. July 2013 12:04

I will be at Convolution in the SF Bay Area, Nov 1-3. I'd really love to see the Goblin King's Masked Ball happen.

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I'm Kimmi Allbee, and I'm Chairwoman of this really amazing convention- Convolution 2013.  We're a new sci-fi/fantasy genre con, taking place in the San Francisco Bay Area on November 1-3rd.  Last year was our inaugural event, and we had unexpected success.  This, our second year, is shaping up to be more of the same-I have a hard time not gushing when I speak of how awesome it's going to be. 

Our Guests of Honor include Brian Froud & Wendy Froud, who's work you'd recognize from films like "Labyrinth", and "The Dark Crystal", Wendy & Richard Pini, celebrating 35 years of their brilliant ElfQuest comic book series, and Richard Kadrey, author of the dark fantasy series "Sandman Slim", which was recently announced as being developed for a new television series.  Featured Guests include Toby Froud, puppeteer and filmmaker, and Ivan Van Norman, RPG game creator, and one of the finalists from TBS' "King of the Nerds" TV series.  We're also closing the weekend with a private screening of the Cabal Cut of Clive Barker's epic horror film "Nightbreed", which was just announced at SDCC as being picked up for a new DVD release with the all-new, reworked scenes that were cut from the original release, bringing it back in line with Clive's original vision for the film.  Russell Cherrington, the man behind this film being made will join us, along with Craig Sheffer, star of Nightbreed, who played Boone.

When I first bid to chair this year's convention, I had a dream, and it's been amazing to watch that dream become a real thing, and to get to share it with all the people who are so excited for it to happen. We're also working our collective butts off to make it be a bigger, more amazing thing than it could have been on it's own, by running a Kickstarter campaign for Saturday night's dance, The Goblin King's Masked Ball.

We'll have live music performances from singer and cellist Unwoman, and from the trio of amazing performers who make up Tricky Pixie- Alexander James Adams, SJ Tucker, and Betsy Tinney.  We'll have local DJs spinning atmospheric music, and live performers from The Vespertine Circus.  The whole evening is themed after the iconic dream sequence in the film "Labyrinth", and we want everyone to don a fancy costume and mask, and come to the ball as your brightest dream, or your darkest nightmare, and revel for Halloween weekend in style and decadence.

We currently have 52 backers, with $4,944.00 pledged of our $12,500.00 goal, and we're not quite halfway done- we have 17 days left. We're at 39% funded-and this is a fantastic thing. In the next week, you'll see more updates as we add new performers, and unveil some extra reward level items to titillate new backers. We've gotten endless support from all of our wonderful Guests of Honor, and Featured Guests, and it just keeps coming, which is both humbling, and invigorating, as it repeatedly shows me that my dream is something that I can share, and have it become bigger than it was when it just lived in my head.

Please, go give it a look. There has been so much work, from so many people, going into making this project a success that I cannot possibly ask for more from any of them-but I can ask for more from you. Even if it's just $5, one less latte for the week-every little bit helps, and every little bit adds up to become part of a greater whole. And then, you'll have thrown a little bit of positivity out into the world, knowing you helped make a dream come true.

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Convention Season

by Jennifer Brozek 23. July 2013 15:07

I have a new sale I can talk about! I've just signed a contract for my short story, "The Price of Family," for the second Mercedes Lackey anthology for her Elemental Masters series. It was a hard story to end. I had two perfectly appropriate endings. Had to talk it out with editor, John Helfers, on which one was better.

Convention season is upon me. Three conventions in four weeks. It's going to get interesting. At this point, I'm scheduled only editing until after GenCon.

  • 7/25-7/28 - Cascade Writers Workshop
  • 8/8-8/10 - SpoCon
  • 8/14-8/19 - GenCon


Cascade Writers Workshop Schedule

Fri. Jul. 26, 11-11:50 AM, Salon A - What an Editor Wants (panel)
Panelists: Patrick Swenson, Claire Eddy, Cory Skerry, Keffy RM Kehrli, Jennifer Brozek (mod)

Fri. Jul. 26, 4:30-5:20 PM, Salon D - Juggling Chainsaws (solo)
How to manage your schedule to get everything done and still write.

Fri. Jul. 26, 7-8 PM, Salon D - Mental Illness as Entertainment (solo)
The media has brought characters with mental illness to the mainstream (Touch-autism, Perception-Schizophrenia). Is this a good or bad thing. How can writers to justice to writing characters with mental illness.

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Sat. Jul. 27, 11-11:50 AM, Salon D - Writing for RPGs (solo)
What it takes to write for RPGs and to do write tie-in fiction.

Sat. Jul. 27, 1:30-2:30 PM, Salon A - Do I Need Social Media? (panel)
Panelists: Kristen Fife (mod), Jennifer Brozek

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Time to Think

by Jennifer Brozek 15. July 2013 12:06

A couple weeks back, the Husband bought two iron rocking chairs for the back deck along with a sun umbrella and a little matching table. We also go a found lovely little fountain. Suddenly, the back deck is a welcoming place to hang out and enjoy the greenery of the backyard. Just in time, too. Temperatures have been stupidly hot lately and in the evenings, the back deck has been a cool haven.

I’ve spent a lot of time outside on the deck since we made it a place where we could be comfortable and I’ve discovered something: the benefits of just sitting and thinking in the quiet. If I have music, it’s instrumental music like the Elder Scrolls soundtrack, Two Steps From Hell, or Classical. I discovered that the more I sit in the rocking chair, sipping my coffee, watching the squirrels and birds, the more my mind wanders, noodling over plot problems, story ideas, and daydreams.

This is something John Pitts talked about in his Genreality piece, Finding My Way Back to the Sea. He talks about rocking in a chair his family gave him and looking into himself to find his inspiration, to find the story. A lot of this is all about the ability to stop being distracted… or distracting yourself… and letting yourself be alone with your thoughts, to have the time to think, to consider, to ponder whatever comes to mind.

The more often I just sit and think, the more creative well is refilled, the more the story I’m telling becomes clear. I don’t sit and think for long. Just 10-15 minutes at a time… the length of a cup of coffee. But it’s enough. It also makes me realize how much we are overwhelmed with stuff every single day and how little we have time for our thoughts.

As an author, I need time to think. I didn’t realize it but it explains why activities like driving without music, showering, and gardening are so good for the soul. And why I usually have some of my best ideas when I’m nowhere near pen and paper. It’s in these times that you refill the creative well and your mind quiets enough to hear past the static and stress of everyday life.

I’ve been a professional author / editor for over a decade now and I’m still learning things every day. I’m glad I realized this need for time to think and daydream… and that I now have the perfect spot to do so.

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More Short Fiction

by Jennifer Brozek 9. July 2013 10:01

It’s been a couple of good weeks for me, short fiction wise. Along with my novelette sale of “Dreams of a Thousand Young” to Jazz Age Cthulhu (Innsmouth Free Press), I sold two more short stories. The first is “For the Love of a Troll on a Mid-Winter’s Night” to Night Terrors III (Blood Bound Books). The second is “The Bathory Clinic Deal” to Future Embodied (Simian Publishing).

I’m very pleased by the sales and even more pleased by the different genres each story is in. “Dreams of a Thousand Young” is a Lovecraftian horror story set in 1920’s Assam, India. “For the Love of a Troll on a Mid-Winter’s Night”  is a dark urban fantasy story set in modern day Seattle. “The Bathory Clinic Deal” is a dark sci-fi story set in a nameless future city.

I also want to remind everyone that I do have a Karen Wilson Chronicles short story in the kickstarter anthology What Fates Impose (Alliteration Ink) that is in its last week. I really want to see this story published as well as the anthology. Please take a look and see if you’d like it. Also, one of the $40 donation levels includes the first three Karen Wilson Chronicles books.

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Tell Me – J. A. Pitts

by Jennifer Brozek 8. July 2013 12:39

I have the great pleasure of calling John Pitts a mentor and friend. He is an excellent author and the Sarah Beauhall series deserves to continue on. I know a lot hinges on trade paperback sales. Forged in Fire is worth picking up in physical copy. Something to think about.

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On July 23rd, the trade paperback of Forged in Fire hits the shelves.  This is the third in the Sarah Beauhall series about a young lesbian blacksmith in present day Seattle who repairs a sword that just happens to be the legendary Gram and the chaos that ensues.

In Forged in Fire, Sarah has uncovered even more that is wrong with the world in the form of a blood cult lead by a seriously anti-social necromancer.  Justin, the necromancer, just happens to have once dated Anezka, one of the blacksmith masters that Sarah has had the pleasure of working with.

I love this book for several reasons.  It was a good chance for me to step out of my comfort zone in several areas which is a HUGE bonus for writers.  Breaking through the walls and trying things, exploring themes or touching on subject matter that is outside our norm makes for powerful story telling.

Sarah really has embraced the way her world is unfolding and is approaching it with a fervor she never knew she had in her.  Katie, her lover and best friend, begins to really come into her own as a bard, with the music and magic literally bursting out of her. 

The rest of the crew jump in and round out the story with depth and consequences.  Every action has meaning, magic has a cost, and even the most well intentioned decision has a ripple effect that goes beyond any careful (or not so careful) planning on everyone's part.

Another thing I find fascinating about this series in general is the fun of layering in story.  I get a very real sense of joy by planting clues that may bear fruit in this book, or maybe the next.  The world isn't a single D&D adventure that is completely wrapped at the end.  Oh, the story has a fine resolution, but the world rolls on, the characters have lives beyond this book, and I dearly hope that you the reader can't help but wonder just what might happen next.

At least that's the feedback I've been getting from eager readers.  Of course, as the author, there are things I know that the readers don't always catch.  But I can live with that.  What I'd really love is when you read the books, that you'd contact me, ask questions, let me know what you liked and what you didn't like.  Let me know if there are things I should do better in the future, or things that you want to see.

I can't promise I'll do any of those things, but it's a real boon to a writer to hear what's working and what isn't.  I especially want to know if the things I'm foreshadowing are what you the reader is anticipating as the next thing.

Beyond that, I just hope you're entertained.  That's the whole point of this exercise, after all.  I'm a sucker for a damn good story, and I hope Forged in Fire fill that for you. 

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Tell Me – Nayad Monroe

by Jennifer Brozek 1. July 2013 10:22

Nayad is an author / editor friend of mind that I’ve been privileged to work with upon occasion. This is one such occasion. I have a story in the kickstarter anthology, What Fates Impose, that Nayad talks about below. In an unexpected turn, Nayad asked me to write my own “Tell Me” about the Karen Wilson Chronicles and the story that is in this anthology.

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What Fates Impose: Tales of Divination

When I consider potential anthology themes, I'm really thinking about what kind of stories I would like to read. That's what led me to pitch the idea for this book of stories about predicting the future. I was curious about what various writers would think of when given the theme about fortune-telling. I wanted to see the dark side and the conflicts of divination, and the possibilities that other people would imagine. I was thrilled when Steven Saus of Alliteration Ink decided that he wanted to publish it.

Getting a glimpse of what's ahead is a special kind of cheat. It's not as easy as you want it to be. You don't know how the piece you're told will fit in with the whole puzzle of your life. You don't know when it will happen, or what will lead to it. Oracles are notoriously vague and inclined towards a trickster mentality; they're not trying to make life any easier for you. You can never tell how much of the truth they're telling, if they're telling any truth at all.

Looking at my own ideas about these matters: I don't believe that fortune-telling can work because I don't believe the future is already planned. I think that each decision we make steers the future in its own little way, but we each have a range of decisions we could make in any given moment. But what if predictions could be made based on trends and probabilities? What if there were ways to use magic to catch glimpses of what could be ahead? I can imagine worlds in which fate is inescapable, and worlds in which there are ways to change a predicted future.

The authors who wrote stories for me came up with ideas I never would have gotten on my own. A psychic elephant came from Eric James Stone. A conspiracy to fulfill a prophecy came from Ken Scholes. Jennifer Brozek's Tarot cards can change the world. Tim Waggoner shows us a fortune-telling creature that lurks behind a waterfall in the forest. And Lucy Snyder's predictions come from a grim creation in a secret cellar. All of the twenty-two stories I chose for the book showed me distinct, interesting possibilities.

From now until July 14, 2013, Alliteration Ink is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to pay professional rates for these stories. If we reach our goal, we get full funding, and if we don't reach our goal, we get nothing. Want to help? By pledging from the Kickstarter page, you can pre-order copies of the book and choose from a wide range of backer rewards. We are also offering random prize-drawings for backers when we reach important milestones. You can see it all here: http://bit.ly/kickfate (and you might want to do your ears a favor by listening to a portion of the book's intro, written and read by Alasdair Stuart). We will be gushingly grateful for all support.

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Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award nominated editor and a Bram Stoker nominated author. Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited fifteen anthologies with more on the way, including the acclaimed Chicks Dig Gaming and Shattered Shields anthologies. Author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, Industry Talk, the Karen Wilson Chronicles, and the acclaimed Melissa Allen series, she has more than sixty-five published short stories, and is the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.

Jennifer is a freelance author for numerous RPG companies. Winner of the Scribe, Origins, and ENnie awards, her contributions to RPG sourcebooks include Dragonlance, Colonial Gothic, Shadowrun, Serenity, Savage Worlds, and White Wolf SAS. Jennifer is the author of the YA Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, and the Shadowrun novella, Doc Wagon 19. She has also written for the AAA MMO Aion and the award winning videogame, Shadowrun Returns.

When she is not writing her heart out, she is gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest in its wonderfully mercurial weather. Jennifer is a Director-at-Large of SFWA, and an active member HWA and IAMTW. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek.